Putting Spark Arrestors to the Test

January 11th, 2023

Testing the Efficacy and Effectiveness of Mesh and Centrifugal Spark Arrestors.

Spark arrestor design can have a big impact on their effectiveness and efficiency. In this scientific study, we put both mesh-style and centrifugal spark arrestors to the test, including RoboVent’s Delta3 Inline Centrifugal Spark Arrestor. See which spark arrestors performed the best on measures of spark control efficacy and pressure drop.

Efficacy vs. Efficiency: Testing Spark Arrestors

RoboVent conducted a series of scientific tests to examine both efficacy and efficiency of spark arrestors, including mesh-style collectors with 1, 2, 3 or 4 layers of screening and several commercial models of centrifugal collectors. There is typically a tradeoff between the ability of the device to stop sparks and pressure drop, which is a measure of the energy efficiency of the device. 

  • Efficacy is defined as how well the spark arrestor does its job of preventing the passage of sparks, measured by counting the number of sparks that make it through the collector at different airspeeds.
  • Efficiency tells us how much energy is required to keep air moving through the spark arrestor, as measured by the pressure drop across the collector.

Centrifugal vs. Mesh-Style Spark Arrestors

The study looked at both mesh-style and centrifugal spark arrestors, including Delta3 Inline, Delta3 Sparkout, and several commercial competitors. 

  • A centrifugal-type spark arrestor uses centrifugal force to trap and extinguish hot flames using vanes or deflectors. As air moves through the spark arrestor chamber, blades or vanes cause it to rotate, and centrifugal force pushes the sparks against the walls of the chamber. This strips the thermal envelope from the spark. 
  • A mesh or screen-type spark arrestor consists of a metal screen or multiple layers of metal mesh to catch larger embers and sparks while allowing gases and vapors through. As embers hit the wire, they are either instantly extinguished by the impact or trapped until they cool down naturally. 

Both types of spark arrestors have their uses for spark protection in industrial environments. Read more about spark arrestor options

And the Winner Is…

Which spark arrestor performed the best on both spark-stopping ability and pressure drop? Read the study for the full results, but here’s the bottom line: Delta3 Inline demonstrated the best overall performance, when considering both pressure drop and efficacy, across several rounds of testing. In rigorous comparative tests, Delta 3 Inline:

  • Allowed zero sparks through at all airspeeds.
  • Had the lowest pressure drop among all tested technologies.

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